Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting

Marketing Your Debut Novel Part IV

I’ve been doing a series on marketing your debut novel. You can find Part I, Part II and Part III here by clicking the links.

Briefly, Part I focused on growing your tribe/social media, Part II was about the comparable books section of your book proposal, and Part III was about the audience section of the book proposal. These all focused on one particular area of the writer’s life–the pre-contract phase.

Let’s depart that phase and begin concentrating on the next phase– the contract submission phase. I’m going to define this part of the writer’s life as the time you or your agent are submitting your book proposal but haven’t yet signed a contract.

You may think…there’s marketing to be done during this phase? Yes, absolutely. For me, this phase lasted from December 2009 to April 2011–almost 18 months! Definitely too much time to be sitting idle.

One thing you can be doing during this phase is hosting other authors/experts on your blog and guest blogging on others’ blogs that support your brand. This will lend to your credibility and should also help internet search engines highlight sites with your name. The more sites, the more opportunities for people to find you and the more exposure you have to people who may not have discovered you yet.

My primary blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, deals with writing medically authentic fiction. This supports my overall suspense brand because I discuss ways to injure, maim, and kill fictional characters.

To help grow my blog and support my brand (therefore exposing Proof to more potential buyers), I began looking for opportunities to guest blog and looked for other authors to host.

For example, I wrote pieces for other blogs that dealt with strategies an author could use for medical research, common medical mistakes in fiction writing, and even offered real medical advice to parents over at Christian Mama’s Guide. Erin is a non-fiction author who published a guide on having a baby and although Erin’s blog is not a suspense blog at all, my guest blogging allowed me an opportunity to reach possible new readers and lent her blog credibility by having an expert post. A true win/win situation.

I also hosted authors like Richard Mabry, CJ Lyons, and Candace Calvert. I hoped to drive their readers, whose fiction is similar to mine, to my blog to learn more about me and possibly become future buyers of my fiction.

Though this isn’t specific to guest blogging/hosting, I did follow many on Twitter who mentioned they were authors. I sent one direct message to them telling them about my blog. From that, I’ve gotten several additional authors to guest blog for me. In return for guest blogging, I highlight them, their books, and their internet presence.

Some people argue that my strategy, primarily focusing on authors as my initial tribe, will not boost sales in the end. We’ll have to see if what they say is true but I know I’m an author and an avid book fan and have bought many more books because I’ve built relationships with these authors and grown to love them as friends.

Next post in this series, we’ll go over how to be a generous blog host and good guest blogger.

How about you? What are some strategies you’ve used to gain readership by hosting guests on your blog and/or guest blogging other places?

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22 thoughts on “Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting

  1. Jordyn, Thanks for such great insight. It’s encouraging to me, since I’ve just launched a regular guest series on my blog with a similar hope to what you describe. Thanks for such practical guidance!

  2. Great post, Jordyn! I agree, “A true win/win situation.” I think guest blogging for others and inviting others to contribute guest posts to our blogs helps us all. Not only do guests posts drive our readers to our guests’ online sites and books, they also drive their followers to our sites as well. [Warning, this following statement is a plug! Ha!] In fact, I would LOVE to host you, our other WordServe authors, or any “aspiring or experience writer” to submit a guest post to me for my personal blog or to our StoryWriting Studio blog. [Right, Anita?] Keep blogging, ya’ll!

  3. Jordyn, is it wrong I take comfort that it took that long to sell your book? I’m only month eight.:) Proof was an excellent fresh take on a medical/suspense. This from a girl who has read quite a few of them.
    Guest blogging is a great way to gain exposure and smart for both the host and guest. In valuing our readers, we always want to bring them great content, both from us and other experts. Sharing is such a blessed thing.

    • Melissa, can I just say that I love your heart? “Value our readers,” “Sharing is such a blessed thing”– I’m blessed by these reminders!

    • I agree on always providing value to the reader. That should be the number one goal! I think someone on the ACFW blog did a poll on what the average time was from book idea to published book for a debut novelist and the average was something like six years! So– I was probably right in line with that when you look at everything together.

  4. To free up some time to do other things and still keep my blog active I’ve been doing a special Hijack This Blog! promo on my primary blog. So far it’s been a big success with some outstanding guest posts running for 3 days each week starting in mid-June and running until the end of September. I’ve had no problem getting guest bloggers to keep my blog active.

    Lee

    • This is a good point Lee that guest bloggers can help lighten the load of having to come up with blog ideas all the time!

  5. This segment is one I can definitely appreciate! I started my blog, Everyone’s Story, because I felt the push to grow an Internet presence asI submit my work to publishers. What I’ve received in addition has been a tremendous blessing: meeting so many people from around the world, from friends, prayer partners, agents, and readers. Now that I ‘ve entered my 2nd year I believe my name is beginning to be recognized–and this on an pre-pubbed level. Will this help me to sell? Who knows? But I have no regrets on the time I have to put into this because Of the many beautiful people I’ve networked with. And, on this note, I’m looking forward to hosting you, Jordyn, this month!

  6. “Some people argue that my strategy, primarily focusing on authors as my initial tribe, will not boost sales in the end.”

    A good writer is a reader first. So why not expect authors to be part of your initial tribe? This makes sense to me.

    • Absolutely, Gillian. Through blogging I’ve met lots of people I would have otherwise never known and gotten introduced to some pretty amazing books!

  7. Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the advice in your last few posts! You’ve offered practical steps to someone who is a genuine newby.

    • Awww….thanks, Glenda. Our goal is to help people a few steps behind us on the publishing path. What are you writing?

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  9. Jordyn, you are always looking ahead and I love that about you. I can also tell you that at least a few copies of Proof sold after I commented as I read your book. My own tribe was intrigued by the hints I dropped. VERY good story by the way, can’t wait to read the next one.

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